Statistics to Believe In
By Hally Franz –
There are twenty-five varieties of warblers…
As 2010 is ended and a new year begins, there’s a time for summing up the good, bad and ugly numbers connected with the closing year. Some statistics relate to the financial condition of our country. Retailers will calculate holiday sales for 2010, selling us theories about spending and consumer faith or fear. And, we’ll be worked over by the most recent government-provided data on our country’s ever-growing national debt and rates of unemployment.
There will be frightening facts about health in the United States, and year-end evaluations will no-doubt alert us to rising rates of diabetes, heart disease and obesity, figures we can live without.
Some of the hardest numbers to absorb are those having to do with our humanity and morals as a society. We get pummeled by crime rates of communities around the country, the growing problem of internet pornography, and stories of violence and abuse.
When we strive to start a new year with hopeful resolutions, we often are bombarded with news that’s far from encouraging. Those funneling the numerical news to the masses sometimes have ulterior motives and may be just as easily spouting fuzzy math and facts.
I had the opportunity to visit one of our state parks recently. In this state park in my back yard, there are 158 species of birds, and twenty-five of those are warblers. Tennessee, Magnolia, Worm-eating, Red-eyed, and Yellow-rumped are five of them. I know nothing about warblers, but they sound like some interesting creature-characters.
There are 3,675 state parks in the U.S.A. and approximately 195 countries in the world. If I do any kind of math, that adds up to lots of crazy and kooky birds, not to mention horses, dogs, snakes, tigers and apes, to name a few.
When I’m striving to move beyond the post-holiday blues to set goals for 2011, I need to hear state park numbers as much as state-of-the-union numbers. While we must face our country’s financial, health and societal challenges, we also need to be uplifted by the God numbers. We humans cause debt, sickness, and sin, but our Heavenly Father created our vast and beautiful world before all those things came about. He gave it to us, and He loves us even when we make messes of things. And, He’s on our side when we start each year trying to do a little better.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, while the world presents discouraging news and numbers, enable us to see the magnitude and magnificence of your creation. Replace frustration with hope as we begin a new year in Your service.
“And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good” (Genesis1:20-21 KJV).
Today’s devotion is by Hally Franz. Hally is a former teacher and high school guidance counselor, turned homemaker. She enjoys volunteering at her children’s school, teaching Bible classes at her church, leading projects in 4-H, writing, reading, scrapbooking, and rousing (though, sometimes, not pretty) zumba classes.